Essay about The Spiritual Lives Of Indigenous

2220 Words Nov 21st, 2016 9 Pages
The spiritual lives of indigenous people have long been of interest to outsiders, especially colonial occupiers. Indigenous spirituality, once evaluated as non-conforming to colonial powers’ pre-existing ideas of religion, was used as justification for the subjugation of indigenous peoples and the seizure of their lands. Interactions between the English and the Wampanoag, an indigenous nation whose members inhabit the eastern coast of what is now considered New England, can be categorized in this general pattern. During the sixteenth century, the Wampanoag were the focus of English Puritan missionaries’ conversion efforts, who hoped to save the souls of the Wampanoag and, in doing so, recreate them with respect to the Puritan imagining of civilization. A continued interest in the origins of the United States in modern times has brought further attention to the indigenous peoples and spiritual beliefs predating the English colonists. However, the focus of recent research concerning Wampanoag spirituality, and indigenous spirituality in general, has evolved since the turn of the century. While past investigations into indigenous spirituality have concentrated on the validity of historic, colonial conversions to Puritan Christianity and the environment in which such conversions occurred, indigenous authors’ work has concerned the portrayal of indigenous spirituality in the modern day. Comparing the writing of indigenous and non-indigenous authors reveals great differences in…

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